The bomb watch and other things you should not wear to court, part 2

I have been coming up with so many new suggestions for what you should not wear to court that I had to split this post up into at least two parts. Thanks to everyone who sent me info about the dumb things their clients have shown up wearing the morning of their hearing. I think.

So, here’s the second part of the list of what you really should not wear to court just in case you were wondering:

The bomb watch

The Bomb WatchDon’t even think of wearing what some starving artist from California tried to wear through security:

Yeah, that’s a bomb watch.

If you think it sort of looks like the trigger or the timing device for a bomb, then you’re right. That’s exactly what the artist was trying to make it look like. And can you believe the cops fell for it?!?

The artists who made the two bomb watches in these pictures thought they were being creative and fashionable. You know, using their art to express something about man’s inhumanity to man or the timelessness of terrorism or something. The cops hit the alarms thinking they were about to get blown up, and I don’t blame them. Would you? I’ve known for some time that most cops don’t appreciate art and they certainly didn’t see the artistic merit of either one of these bomb watches. The police ended up not charging the first ‘bomb watch artist’ but they said wearing the thing showed “a lack of good judgment” and that he “was not being very smart.”

Another recent bomb watch.
Another recent bomb watch.

Just for the record, the ‘bomb watch artist’ said that even if the cops weren’t fond of his artistic sensibilities, he “is not an activist or a terrorist.” You really need to rethink your life if you have to say something like that.

Of course I’m glad the artist cleared up the whole terrorist issue but I’m guessing the cops checked his shoes and his underwear VERY closely. I wonder how that went for him? I bet he even got a good old fashioned cavity check, too, just to be sure. This was one artist that got the wrong kind of attention from his audience, my friends.


The muffin top!

Muffin top 3

There is never a good time to show off your muffintop. I can’t even think of more to say except hide it under a hoodie or something. Please, for the love of God.

Leather pants

Do you remember the episode where Ross tried to wear leather pants? It was funny because it was true.
Do you remember the episode where Ross tried to wear leather pants? It was funny because it was true.

Leather pants don’t make you look cool, or hot, or groovy or anything else. They make you look like you’re a lame biker wannabe or like you were up all night in strip joints.

I realize you think you look flashy and are trying to show off how hip you are. But don’t forget that there are some serious problems with leather pants that few people think about. Like the fact that they stick to the court benches. And they don’t stretch – at all. You will sweat like mad in them and they get really itchy.

That last point is important. I don’t want to see you reaching down and scratching yourself while you are standing next to me in front of the Judge. And another thing – we’re not taking a break so you can deal with your pants riding up your rear. Don’t spray yourself with PAM cooking spray to keep the pants under control because everyone will know, it smells really weird, and you will make the wrong kinds of friends in the holding cell back at the jail.

You have to have the figure to wear these, and Kim Kardashian definitely does not. You may think that YOU do but save leather pants for club hopping - not court.
You have to have the figure to wear these, and Kim Kardashian definitely does not. You may think that YOU do but save leather pants for club hopping – not court.

From the Judge’s perspective, men who wear leather pants are trying to make a mockery of the serious nature of the judicial system. That, or you’re trying to make everyone think you’re a member of a vicious motorcycle gang and the Judge gets that message, too. Do you know what happens to motorcycle gang members and people who try to mock the judicial system? I’ll give you one guess.

Women who wear leather pants are trying to look fancy and sophisticated. Very few of you can pull it off. If you could you wouldn’t be living here and going to court with me. You would be in Paris or Rome. So don’t try to fake it because it makes you look cheap even if the pants cost hundreds of dollars. Just wear real clothes and take this court appearance seriously.


Free Mumia t-shirts

MumiaIf you haven’t heard, Mumia Abu-Jumal is serving a life sentence for killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981 during a traffic stop. The facts are not really in dispute, despite what Mumia’s ‘supporters’ say on their official website. Three independent witnesses in the original trial testified that they saw Mumia murder the cop among other strong kinds of evidence that he is guilty as sin.

So why is this guy’s face on t-shirts? Because various groups have cast him as a ‘political prisoner’ and a ‘wrongly convicted example of government oppression.’ Mumia was on death row until his sentence was commuted a few years ago because The Man is trying to keep him down, blah, blah, blah.

Mumia was a journalist before going to prison. He has been honing his skills with a typewriter in his cell ever since his conviction. He’s been sitting there in the slammer fanning the flames of class war, cop hatred, and 1970’s style civil unrest so well that he has become an honorary citizen of something like 25 foreign countries. Wearing one of his t-shirts around town has become a fashionable political act of angry protest against the ‘corrupt’ legal system.

Wearing one of his shirts to a court hearing is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Judges and police all over the country know that Mumia killed a cop. When you wear one of these shirts you announce that: 1. You like the idea of killing cops and this cop killer is your hero; or 2. You think Mumia is proof that the legal system is corrupt, unlawful, etc.; or both. Neither statement is viewed as a positive thing by the Judge deciding your case. Leave these t-shirts at home so that you get to go there after court.

Beer bellies

Beer bellyI don’t criticize people for being bad spellers or being overweight or whatever. That’s just how they are and I have to play the cards I’m dealt to some extent.

Which brings me to the front butt. You know, the huge beer belly some people sport proudly as it sags down the front of their body. The spare tire. I can’t stand it when guys brag about earning their beer belly the hard way, 12 ounces at a time. Front butts are not limited to men, my friends, but you can’t really talk to the women sporting one. You never know if they’re actually pregnant and they’re just going to go ballistic on you.

Anyway, it’s not possible for me to suddenly make clients shed 100 pounds to get into shape for a hearing in a couple of weeks. That’s not to say I don’t tell them to start getting exercise because I do. Wearing themselves out means they sleep a little better and maybe they will start taking a little more care of themselves. And I certainly yell at a few here and there to pull themselves together and start putting on clothes that fit. I can get away with a little tough love from time to time and it helps me deal with the embarrassment of standing next to them in court.

Gaining a lot of weight is sometimes a sign of health problems but it’s also a big sign that the person has given up or is dealing with bad depression. Every journey of a hundred pounds starts with the first bag of chips and it’s hard to control yourself when you have a serious legal problem. Being overweight is completely treatable with diet and exercise before it gets to dialysis or insulin injections but not on the time frame I deal with.Beer belly 2

But like I said above I basically have to play the cards I’m dealt. I can’t set up a huge liposuction machine in the back office even though I actually looked into it once for fun. I’ve had a few try to wear manziers. You know, Cosmo Kramer’s brazzier for men. They really exist. One style of gut wrapper even makes it kind of look like you have real ‘six-pack’ abs. It’s a bit creepy but at least it shows the client has started to care enough to pay attention to details.

Despite essentially being helpless in the face of flab I can do some little things. For example, I make them tuck their shirts in. I refuse to help them button the bottom buttons if they can’t reach them. I don’t get paid enough for that debasement. But sometimes I make them go buy suspenders. God help the ones that comes back with a rainbow pair like Urkel or Robin Williams on Mork and Mindy. And if I ever catch a guy wearing one of those fake beer belies that is really a bota bag full of beer I am going to throw him down the stairs.

The ‘killer’ t-shirt

T.J. Lane at his sentencing hearing.
T.J. Lane at his sentencing hearing.

This is a special version of the bad t-shirt thing I already wrote about. It’s hard to put this into words because the young homicidal maniac who wore one the other day is . . . I don’t know. The kid in the picture is T.J. Lane, age 18. He killed three fellow High school students by shooting them in the head and wounded three others, one of whom is in a wheel chair because of his injuries. The police say he shot the other kids while waiting for the school bus and ran. When police found him he was sitting on a bench wearing a t-shirt much like the one in the picture.

The arresting officer said he read Lane his rights and Lane told him that he just “killed a bunch of people.” When the arresting officer asked Lane why he did it, Lane said, “I don’t know.” At another point when asked why Lane said, “I don’t really understand myself.”

The officer said Lane told him he was aiming for heads so students wouldn’t suffer.

The arresting officer asked Lane if he was suicidal, used drugs or alcohol, or suffered from depression and Lane replied, “No.” How do you process that kind of thing as a rational human being? I don’t think I know what to think about it. When Lane made a statement to the court at his sentencing hearing, he said “This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. F— all of you.” Shortly after that Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz said to the Judge “What we’re dealing with is a disgusting human being. … He still refuses to offer any explanation for why he did this. The only explanation I can offer the court is he is an evil person.” I suppose that sums it up as good as anything.

But back to the court clothes. Lane pled guilty to killing three people and some other crimes. The Judge had the option of life without parole or allowing the possibility of parole after a minimum of 26 years. It probably wasn’t much of a difficult issue for the judge after seeing the t-shirt and hearing the insults aimed at the victim’s families. Lane lost the chance to ever get out of prison. He wanted to wear that t-shirt so badly that he was willing to waste the rest of his life and die in a small prison cell somewhere rather than shut up, act like he was sorry for a few minutes, and get out of prison in his late 40’s.

-Samuel Owen

© Samuel Owen 2013. All rights reserved. Please read important notices and disclaimers by clicking here.



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